Why Does Wheel Alignment Matter?

Your vehicle’s wheel alignment refers to your suspension system (how the wheels make contact with the road and connect to your steering system) and it affects the life of your tires, your safety, your mpg (miles per gallon), and your driving comfort. Wheel alignment is different from tire balancing (which corrects individual tire weight imbalances) and is important maintenance to the life span of your vehicle. Car Care Auto Center’s ASE certified auto professionals, in Bourbonnais, Illinois, can check your vehicle’s alignment and help you avoid unnecessary wear and tear.

How to know when you should have vehicle’s wheel alignment checked

If you are driving and notice any of the following conditions, you may want to have your suspension checked:

  • The vehicle pulls to one side
  • Uneven tire wear
  • The steering wheel is not centered when you are driving straight
  • The vehicle shakes or shimmies, especially at higher speeds
  • Noise (squealing) comes from the tires, especially when turning
  • New tires have been installed

Common causes for suspension misalignment

Some of the reasons why a suspension system can lose its alignment are due to:

  • Hitting potholes and curbs, especially at higher speeds
  • Accidents (particularly if the impact was on the front-end)
  • Height modification
  • Low tire pressure
  • Excessive weight in the trunk (lowering the height of the chassis)
  • Worn parts (such as suspension springs, ball joints, tie rods, and bearings)

Suspension System Angle Adjustments

There are three main angle adjustments made to suspension systems.

  • Camber – the tilting of the wheels relative to the road. (The wheels should be vertical and perpendicular to the road.) Negative or positive camber (tilting) can wear out the bearings, ball joints, wheel suspension parts and cause uneven tire wear on the affected side.
  • Toe – this is the angle of how the wheels are positioned toward the center of your vehicle (toe-in, leaning in, or toe-out, leaning away, from the center). The front tires should be set slightly inward, to provide a feeling of stability, and the alignment for both the front and back tires should be checked. If the front and back tires are out of alignment, more power is needed to drive and often mileage decreases, handling becomes more difficult, and the tires wear prematurely (tire feathering and heel/toe tire wear).
  • Caster – refers to the placement of each tire within the wheel well and how it relates to the angle of the steering axis. It affects handling of your vehicle – stability, steering and cornering.

We’re Here To Help

Let Car Care Auto Center’s expertise work for you! Conveniently located in Bourbonnais, Illinois, with weekday, evening and weekend hours, they can check your wheel alignment and offer a 12,000 mile/12-month warranty. You can make an appointment online or call 815-937-0700 or feel free to drop in today!

By on June 25th, 2020 in Wheel Alignment